What do you spread on your sandwiches? Butter, margarine, something else or nothing at all?
I used to buy margarine without giving it a great deal of thought, however, about 18 years ago I changed to spreadable butter that I make myself. My reasons are several:
- Eliminate non-recyclable waste (margarine containers)
- Health benefits (margarine is simply a chemical cocktail)
- Easier to spread than pure butter
- Know exactly what the ingredients are
3 tablespoons skim milk powder
Allow the butter to soften but not melt. Beat butter using a mixer or food processor. Combine the other ingredients in a jug and stir well to dissolve the milk powder. Gradually add the mixture to the butter while continuing to beat. Beat for another 1 – 2 minutes until white and creamy. Spoon into containers and refrigerate. This made almost 1500ml so it is really quite economical. Actual costings would depend on the type of oil that you use.
I generally keep one container in the refrigerator and freeze the rest because we do not use a lot of butter and it will go mouldy/rancid if stored for long periods in the refrigerator. I use Pyrex glass containers as they can be put in the freezer and I am constantly trying to minimise the amount of plastic that I use for storing food.
The type of oil you use is entirely up to you. I choose to use locally grown and produced organic olive oil which I buy in bulk at the Co-op in Maleny. Olive oil does have a distinctive flavour so you may prefer something more bland such as rice-bran oil. I do not consider canola oil as an option as most of the commercial crop is genetically-modified and I prefer not to use foods that contain GM products.
This is not a totally zero-waste exercise but it is certainly better than all of the margarine containers that you would otherwise use. I take my glass bottle to be refilled with oil. The butter wrapper is used to grease baking trays or line cake tins and then goes into the compost. I buy skim milk powder from Aldi in a 1 kg non-recyclable bag, however, I have recently discovered that I can buy this in bulk from Simply Good so will be doing that in the future.